Pitcairn rides again in the R7 265

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 13, 2014 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: radeon, r7 265, pitcairn, Mantle, gpu, amd

Some time in late February or March you will be able to purchase the R7 265 for around $150, a decent price for an entry level GPU that will benefit those who are currently dependent on the GPU portion of an APU.  This leads to the question of its performance and if this Pitcairn refresh will really benefit a gamer on a tight budget.  Hardware Canucks tested it against the two NVIDIA cards closest in price, the GTX 650 Ti Boost which is almost impossible to find and the GTX 660 2GB which is $40 more than the MSRP of the R7 265.  The GTX 660 is faster overall but when you look at the price to performance ratio the R7 265 is a more attractive offering.  Of course with NVIDIA's Maxwell release just around the corner this could change drastically.

If you already caught Ryan's review, you might have missed the short video he just added on the last page.

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Crowded house

"AMD's R7 265 is meant to reside in the space between the R7 260X and R9 270, though performance is closer to its R9 sibling. Could this make it a perfect budget friendly graphics card?"

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

It's not a rumour; Broadwell is still making itself pretty

Subject: General Tech | February 13, 2014 - 01:26 PM |
Tagged: Intel, Broadwell

There are many possible reasons why Intel is delaying the arrival of the 14nm Broadwell, from a lack of competition to the slowing of the laptop market to simply wanting to sell more Haswell chips.  Regardless of the cause, DigiTimes is reporting that we will not see the first Broadwell chips until the beginning of 2015 with the arrival of Celeron and Pentium branded chips.  The first ones to be shipped will be to mobile system builders in the last quarter of this year, limited amounts of U- and Y-series models will be distributed to manufacturers to be sold at the beginning of 2015.  That is a long way off, don't give up all hope but don't hold your breath.

Broadwell-CPU-Intel.jpg

"Intel's upcoming 14nm Broadwell-based processors were previously scheduled for mass production at the end of the first quarter for release in the third; however, sources from the upstream supply chain say the processors have recently been delayed and will not be available until the fourth quarter."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Oh PCMag, Console vs PC

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems | February 12, 2014 - 10:45 PM |
Tagged: xbox, xbone, ps4, Playstation, pc gaming

PCMag, your source for Apple and gaming console coverage (I joke), wrote up an editorial about purchasing a gaming console. Honestly, they should have titled it, "How to Buy a Game Device" since they also cover the NVIDIA SHIELD and other options.

The entire Console vs PC debate bothers me, though. Neither side handles it well.

PS4-01.png

I will start by highlighting problems with the PC side, before you stop reading. Everyone says you can assemble your own gaming PC to save a little money. Yes, that is true and it is unique to the platform. The problem is that the public vision then becomes, "You must assemble and maintain your own gaming PC".

No.

No. No. No.

Some people prefer the support system provided by the gaming consoles. If it bricks, which some of them do a lot, you can call up the manufacturer for a replacement in a few weeks. The same could be absolutely true for a gaming PC. There is nothing wrong with purchasing a computer from a system builder, ranging from Dell to Puget Systems.

The point of gaming PC is that you do not need to. You can also deal with a small business. For Canadians, if you purchase all of your hardware through NCIX, you can add $50 to your order for them to ship your parts as a fully assembled PC, with Windows installed (if purchased). You also get a one-year warranty. The downside is that you lose your ability to pick-and-choose components from other retailers and you cannot reuse your old stuff. Unfortunately, I do not believe NCIX USA offers this. Some local stores may offer similar benefits, though. One around my area assembled for free.

The benefits of the PC is always choice. You can assemble it yourself (or with a friend). You can have a console-like experience with a system builder. You can also have something in-between with small businesses. It is your choice.

Most importantly, your choice of manufacturer does not restrict your choice in content.

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As for the consoles, I cannot find a rock-solid argument that will always be better on them. If you are thinking about purchasing one, the available content should sway your decision. Microsoft will be the place to get "Halo". Sony will be the place to get "The Last of Us". Nintendo will be the place to get "Mario". Your money should go where the content you want is. That, and wherever your friends play.

But, of course, then you are what made the content exclusive.

Note: Obviously the PC has issues with proprietary platforms, too. Unlike the consoles, it could also be a temporary issue. The PC business model does not depend upon Windows. If it remains a sufficient platform? Great. If not, we have multiple options which range from Linux/SteamOS to Web Standards for someone to develop a timeless classic on.

Source: PCMag

Remote Utilities Is a Free Alternative To LogMeIn For Personal and Business Use

Subject: General Tech | February 12, 2014 - 10:40 PM |
Tagged: screen sharing, remote utilities, remote support, logmein

After the free version of LogMeIn shut down (on rather short notice), I started to look for alternatives for the occasional remote support session with family and friends. One alternative I was directed to on a forum I frequent was a software utility called Remote Utilities. The developers recently announced (in response to LogMeIn Free's shutdown) that their Remote Utilities software is available with a free license good for business or personal use on up to 10 PCs. It seemed interesting, so I decided to give it a try for myself.

Remote Utilities (4).png

The Remote Utilities Viewer GUI.

The download weighs in at 16.4MB and comes in a zipped folder with two installers for the viewer and host along with a single page quick start guide (PDF). Installation of both programs was simple enough, and it would be easy enough to guide someone through over the phone. The host installer defaults are decent. It will ask the user to enter a password that will be required to access the PC remotely.

Remote Utilities Access Code.png

It will also offer to create an "Internet ID" which is a code that can be emailed or otherwise given to the support technician. It is used to connect to the client PC without needing to figure out the IP and port forwarding situation of the client PC. Alternatively, you can choose to connect directly via IP without going through Remote Utilities connection servers.

Remote Utilities.png

My desktop connecting to my laptop using the Remote Utilities application.

Once the host PC is setup and the viewer application is installed on the other PC, you can connect to, and log into the remote PC. The application allows file transfer, terminal (or command prompt) access, screen sharing, and full GUI remote control of the PC. You can remotely restart and install applications as well. Needless to say, there are a lot of advanced settings and tools for those that like to dive into things while being easy to use in a default state. For a free application, it is very fully featured and easy to use. Performance of the remote control session was very smooth, particularly over the same LAN (naturally). It was at least as responsive as Crossloop and noticeably better than the VNC options I've tested in the past.

As far as encryption options for the connection, Remote Utilities claims to use RSA 2048 asymmetric + AES 256 symmetric (Microsoft Crypto API) for all data sent over the network. The encryption is enabled by default, and cannot be turned off (heh).

This is by no means a full review, and I do not intend for it to be. However, I do believe that it to be an interesting alternative to LogMeIn that is worth sharing. If you are still looking for a free remote support tool, I encourage you to check this one out.

You can grab the free download from: http://www.remoteutilities.com/

What is your favorite free remote support tool?

Six Months Later: Jason Holtman Leaves Microsoft

Subject: General Tech | February 12, 2014 - 09:10 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, microsoft

PC Gamer reports that Jason Holtman has left Microsoft after being there just six months. Little is known about his departure, or even what he accomplished at Microsoft beyond his "Head of PC Gaming and Entertainment Strategy" title, but the publication hopes to have more details soon.

It does appear as if he chose to leave.

Valve-Jason-Holtman-610x407.jpg

Image Credit: Microsoft-News

Prior to joining Microsoft, Holtman served as the director of business development for seven years at Valve. He is credited with a lot of Steam's success, from content deals to their wildly successful "Summer Sales".

We do not really have much beyond that, yet.

Readers, how do you think this reflect Microsoft's stance toward PC gaming?

Source: PC Gamer

Intel NUC BIOS Update Fixes Debian Booting

Subject: General Tech, Systems | February 12, 2014 - 08:25 PM |
Tagged: ubuntu, SteamOS, nuc, Intel, debian

Two days ago, Intel added a new BIOS for the NUC to their download center. Its main update addresses a problem with booting some operating systems, such as SteamOS. Ars Technica published an editorial a couple of weeks ago about using the Haswell-based NUC with four Linux distributions. It basically comes down to the NUC not seeing a bootloader file that Debian-based OSes leave in their own branded folder. The BIOS was available less than two weeks later.

intel-nuc.jpg

The update also addresses (PDF) fan speed control, a bug with disk encryption passwords, a couple of BIOS settings, and a system hang with certain USB thumb drives.

If you have a NUC and want to make it a SteamOS (or Ubuntu, etc.) device, this should fix your woes. I mean, there was already a workaround involving four terminal commands but it is that much easier nonetheless. It is available now at Intel's store.

Source: Intel

MediaTek Follows ARM Cortex-A17 Unveil with MT6595

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | February 12, 2014 - 05:48 PM |
Tagged: mediatek, arm, cortex, A17

Our Josh Walrath wrote up an editorial about the Cortex-A17 architecture less than two days ago. In it, he reports on ARM's announcement that "the IP" will ship in 2015. On the same calendar date, MediaTek announced their MT6595 SoC, integrating A17 and A7 cores, will be commercially available in 1H 2014 with devices in 2H 2014.

arm_A17_diag_r.png

Of course, it is difficult to tell how ahead of schedule this is, depending on what ARM meant by shipping in 2015 and what MediaTek meant by devices based on the MT6595 platform in 2H 2014.

There are two key features about the A17: a 40% power reduction from A15 and its ability to integrate with A7 cores in a big.LITTLE structure. MediaTek goes a little further with "CorePilot", which schedules tasks across all eight cores (despite it being a grouping of two different architectures). This makes some amount of sense because it allows for four strong threads which can be augmented with four weaker threads. Especially for applications like web browsers, it is not uncommon to have a dominant main thread.

The SoC will also support LTE and HSPA+ mobile and 802.11ac wireless connections. It will not integrate the Mali-T720 GPU (DX11/OpenGL ES 3.0), but instead use the Power VR Series6 GPU (DX10/OpenGL ES 3.0 unless it is an unannounced design). MediaTek does not explain why they chose the one licensed GPU over the other.

MediaTek claims the MT6595 platform will be available in the first half of 2014 with devices coming in the second half.

Source: MediaTek

It's Not RT on the Surface. Welcome Windows Phone RT???

Subject: General Tech | February 12, 2014 - 04:52 PM |
Tagged: Windows Phone RT, Windows Phone 8.1, Blue

Before we begin: rumors, rumors, rumors.

We all know the troubles that Microsoft had when they created the Surface RT. It was a branding nightmare. It is Windows but it will not run the library of applications that your stack of installation media represents. Of course I need to be fair, between the iPhone announcement and its release, multiple people claimed to me that they wanted it to run OSX software because "it is based on OSX". Even Apple had this branding problem. They clearly survived it.

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Image Source: AngelWZR Twitter.

The latest leaks claim that Windows Phone 8.1, formerly Windows Phone Blue, will be released as Windows Phone RT. This build is not expected to be the unification with Windows RT.

The apparently leaked SDK also claims various features, such as Internet Explorer 11 (now with 100% less Silverlight), display out, VPN support, and so forth. Check out Dailytech.com for their large list of features and screenshots.

Source: DailyTech

bequiet! lives up to their name with the Dark Rock Pro 3

Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 12, 2014 - 03:50 PM |
Tagged: heatsink, Dark Rock Pro 3, bequiet!

At 150x137x163mm (6x5.4x6.4") in size and 1197g the Dark Rock Pro 3 is a hefty chunk of copper and aluminium.  The extra size does allow for the use of a 135mm fan on the interior with the more common 120m variety on the side which helps make this cooler very quiet even at full load.  The performance was decent but a bit of a let down considering [H]ard|OCP saw better performance from its predecessor, the Dark Rock Pro 2.  Still, if it is quiet performance you need then this is certainly a cooler worth consideration.

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"There is no doubt that when it comes to CPU air cooling, marketing terms like "category leader" and "virtually inaudible" will get your attention. be quiet!'s Dark Rock Pro 3 air cooler touts cooling up to 250 watts, which is stout at best in the world of air cooling. Does the Darck Rock Pro 3 perform and bring with it a cooling value."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

It's true! You can now unleash your inner billy goat

Subject: General Tech | February 12, 2014 - 02:35 PM |
Tagged: gaming, goat simulator

For $10 you can pre-order Goat Simulator on Steam as it has gone from a wacky physics engine demonstration to a real ... goat simulator.  They've even added a brand new feature to the tongue we saw sticking out of the goats mouth in the original video.  If you lick something it will stick to your tongue, which was put to the obvious use of chasing humans around while wielding an axe.  We can only hope that there will be a Troll Bridge add-on in the near future; how can you not buy this?

"Hmm, I worry that it’s ever so slightly less entertaining now it’s a real thing with a pricetag, as opposed to an out-of-nowhere joke. Now it’s got the Snakes On A Plane problem – it has to live up to its concept. Still, we (including I) asked for it, so down Goat Simulator’s rabbit hole we must go."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Ditch the home server and run a dozen VMs on a laptop

Subject: General Tech | February 12, 2014 - 01:31 PM |
Tagged: vmware, vTardis, home lab, win8

Thanks to the shortsightedness and inadequate investment of the currently popular style of IT Manager who just might be able to turn on a computer without requiring assistance the idea of a computer lab at work to allow you to test new software or infrastructure has more or less disappeared.  This has lead to the rise of home labs for many, as the repercussions of rolling out untried modifications can be very serious as can falling behind of the latest trends and technology.   With that in mind Simon Gallagher discovered a new use for vTardis; to set up ESX clusters on a laptop which is much easier on your electrical bill.  With the specific improvements to VM performance on the Core i7 3720QM and a laptop capable of handling 32GB of RAM he was able to set up ten ESX instances, complete with nested virtual machines.  There is one more trick to setting these clusters up, it seems you need Windows 8 to be able to pull it off though The Register does not specify why.  You could pull this off with an AMD processor as well, as long as it has Rapid Virtualization Indexing.

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"At last year's Melbourne VMware user group (VMUG) conference, VMware's Mike Laverick opined that IT pros need a home lab these days, because bosses have stopped shelling out for training."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Fusion-Io looks to Accelerate your databases

Subject: General Tech | February 11, 2014 - 03:15 PM |
Tagged: fusion-io, PCIe SSD, ION Accelerator

If you love fast storage Fusion-Io has new products you are going to love.  The first is the ION Accelerator, which can hold up to 32TB of flash storage in proper server form factor, the full 32TB likely being 4U.  They rate the speed of this device at 1.7 million random IOPS, 56 microsecond access latency and 23GB/sec of bandwidth.  They also released the hybrid ioControl line of appliances with a flash cache in front of HDDs which will provide great performance at a fraction of the cost of the purely flash ION.  There are three models of ioControl, the n5-50 with up to 1.46TB flash and 160TB, the n5-100 with handles up to 3.14TB of flash and 176TB of HDD and the largest n5-150 with 4.8TB of flash and 192TB of disk space.  Obviously the larger pool of flash can improve performance; to see the full spec sheets drop by The Register.

ion_accelerator.jpg

"These two appliances are essential server/controllers running Fusion-io software with their innards stuffed full of Fusion’s PCIe flash cards, plus disks in the hybrid appliance product. The company says they are “for accelerating enterprise applications including Oracle, SAP HANA, and Microsoft SQL Server, as well as virtualisation workloads.”"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

AMD Launches Radeon R7 250X at $99 - HD 7770 Redux

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 10, 2014 - 12:00 AM |
Tagged: radeon, R7, hd 7770, amd, 250x

With the exception of the R9 290X, the R9 290, and the R7 260X, AMD's recent branding campaign with the Radeon R7 and R9 series of graphics cards is really just a reorganization and rebranding of existing parts.  When we reviewed the Radeon R9 280X and R9 270X, both were well known entities though this time with lower price tags to sweeten the pot.  

Today, AMD is continuing the process of building the R7 graphics card lineup with the R7 250X.  If you were looking for a new ASIC, maybe one that includes TrueAudio support, you are going to be let down.  The R7 250X is essentially the same part that was released as the HD 7770 in February of 2012: Cape Verde.

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AMD calls the R7 250X "the successor" to the Radeon HD 7770 and its targeting the 1080p gaming landscape in the $99 price range.  For those keeping track at home, the Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition parts are currently selling for the same price.  The R7 250X will be available in both 1GB and 2GB variants with a 128-bit GDDR5 memory bus running at 4.5 GHz.  The card requires a single 6-pin power connection and we expect a TDP of 95 watts.  

Here is a table that details the current product stack of GPUs from AMD under $140.  It's quite crowded as you can see.

  Radeon R7 260X Radeon R7 260 Radeon R7 250X Radeon R7 250 Radeon R7 240
GPU Code name Bonaire Bonaire Cape Verde Oland Oland
GPU Cores 896 768 640 384 320
Rated Clock 1100 MHz 1000 MHz 1000 MHz 1050 MHz 780 MHz
Texture Units 56 48 40 24 20
ROP Units 16 16 16 8 8
Memory 2GB 2GB 1 or 2GB 1 or 2GB 1 or 2GB
Memory Clock 6500 MHz 6000 MHz 4500 MHz 4600 MHz 4600 MHz
Memory Interface 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit
Memory Bandwidth 104 GB/s 96 GB/s 72 GB/s 73.6 GB/s 28.8 GB/s
TDP 115 watts 95 watts 95 watts 65 watts 30 watts
Peak Compute 1.97 TFLOPS 1.53 TFLOPS 1.28 TFLOPS 0.806 TFLOPS 0.499 TFLOPS
MSRP $139 $109 $99 $89 $79

The current competition from NVIDIA rests in the hands of the GeForce GTX 650 and the GTX 650 Ti, a GPU that was released itself in late 2012.  Since we already know what performance to expect from the R7 250X because of its pedigree, the numbers below aren't really that surprising, as provided by AMD.

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AMD did leave out the GTX 650 Ti from the graph above... but no matter, we'll be doing our own testing soon enough, once our R7 250X cards find there way into the PC Perspective offices.  

The AMD Radeon R7 250X will be available starting today but if that is the price point you are looking at, you might want to keep an eye out for sales on those remaining Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition parts.

Source: AMD

Microsoft's Begging Now

Subject: General Tech | February 8, 2014 - 07:26 PM |
Tagged: windows xp, windows, microsoft

Windows XP will be end-of-life in just 59 days and Microsoft is concerned. They want to enlist their blog readers as tech support who encourages the upgrade to Windows 8.1 directly, or by the purchase of a new PC. Of course, they are not going to provide any incentive or discount. They just hope that a little peer pressure is all they need.

I will not beat someone up for being a dreamer, but...

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The security nightmare is real, however. It is expected that attackers are hoarding vulnerabilities until after April 8th, when open security holes will remain without patch. Some customers will be allowed paid extra support, apparently at the price of $200 per PC for a year. Of course, this is common practice and can limit the number affected by the rumored malware apocalypse.

Then again, I expect that plenty of those machines are already ripe with infection.

Microsoft seems to be hoping that the exodus from Windows XP will land in Windows 8.1 and solve two problems at once. Windows 7 is still available in devices and resellers who stocked up on old installation media, both in spite of Microsoft (rather than endorsed).

For the rest of us, sit back and watch. I will make a crazy prediction and claim that, sometime between now and June, Microsoft should flinch in some way. It could be the re-introduction of Windows 7, some promotion or discount for retailers or system builders, or whatever.

I think they will be disappointed by April.

Source: Windows Blog

Quick Deals: Razer Edge 64GB and Pro 256GB Tablets

Subject: General Tech | February 8, 2014 - 02:08 AM |
Tagged: Razer Edge, razer

If you have spent the last year eyeing the Razer Edge 64GB and Edge Pro 256GB gaming tablets, now might be your time to pounce. Amazon is knocking $300 (30%) off of the 64GB version as well as $350 (24%) off of the 256GB one. This puts their prices at $700 and $1100, respectively.

razer-edge-pro.jpg

The tablets have fairly decent internals, considering their price points. Both contain the comination of Intel HD4000 integrated graphics backed by an NVIDIA GT 640M LE discrete GPU (albeit the Pro version seems to have an extra gigabyte of vRAM). The Pro includes a dual-core Core i7 CPU, with hyper-threading, while the non-pro includes an i5. The Pro has 8GB of RAM, and the non-pro has 4GB. I probably would have little use for this device but, then again, I am a desktop guy.

The accessories, such as the gaming controller case and the docking station, unfortunately seem to remain at full price. Since they seem to be a sizable "point" of the Edge, that could slightly sour this price reduction.

Like most Amazon deals, it is anyone's guess when or if prices will go back up.

Source: Amazon.com

AMD serves up more hints on ARM on Opteron

Subject: General Tech | February 7, 2014 - 02:23 PM |
Tagged: seattle, Opteron A111, opteron, arm, amd

The Inquirer had a chance to hear more about the upcoming Opteron A111 which contains an ARM Cortex A57.  We now know it runs at 2GHz, can address up to 128GB of RAM and has enough channels for 8 drives to be connected to it.  While the chips will be able to operate in tandem with traditional x86 server chips the reduction in power needed and heat produced could mean Opteron based servers could be as small as a cellphone.  We also know that they will be running on a specially flavoured version of Fedora, read on to see what else was revealed by Ian Drew.

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"CHIP DESIGNER AMD has spilled some more details about its first ARM based server processor."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

IBM Also Considers Leaving Chip Manufacturing

Subject: General Tech | February 7, 2014 - 01:18 PM |
Tagged: TSMC, IBM, GLOBALFOUNDRIES

Well this is something which I expect they will not sell to Lenovo...

IBM, one of the world's most advanced chip fabrication companies with the capability to manufacture on a 22nm node, is looking to sell this division. According to The Financial Times, via Ars Technica, the company selected Goldman Sachs to seek options. They are primarily looking for interested buyers but would also consider finding a business partner to offload the division into a joint venture.

The two initial candidates are GLOBALFOUNDRIES and TSMC.

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Image Credit: IBM via ZDNet (Outside photographers are not allowed inside their fab lab).

IBM is not willing to get rid of its chip design ability. IBM creates many chips, often based on its own "Power Architecture". This trademark comes with their RISC-based instruction sets which rival ARM and x86. It forms the basis of the Xbox 360, the Cell processor found in the PS3 (and rarely elsewhere), and the last three Nintendo game consoles starting with the Gamecube.

Despite designing all of the above chips, only some were actually fabricated by IBM.

Personally, I am not sure how serious the earlier mentioned potential buyers are. It could have easily been someone who looked at the list of leading foundries and picked the top two. TSMC is not even a member of "the Common Platform" alliance, not to mention how small IBM is compared to them, so I cannot see much reason for TSMC to bother.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES is a different story, It would make sense for them to want that part of IBM (Josh notes they even share some resource centers). Still, the both of us wondered if they could afford the deal. ATIC, parent company of GLOBALFOUNDRIES, might be able to get the money from somewhere - but would they? They purchased Charter only just recently. Now, if they simply enter a partnership with IBM, that might be a different story than an outright purchase.

Fabrication is hard and expensive. Creating a foundry is about $10 billion, give or take a few billion depending on yield, and changing your equipment for new nodes or wafer sizes is not much cheaper. I can see IBM, a company that is increasing concerned with high profitability, wanting to let someone else deal with at least some of the volatility.

IBM has not commented on this rumor.

Source: Ars Technica

Linus Brings SLI and Crossfire Together

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 7, 2014 - 03:54 AM |
Tagged: sli, crossfire

I will not even call this a thinly-veiled rant. Linus admits it. To make a point, he assembled a $5000 PC running a pair of NVIDIA GeForce 780 Ti GPUs and another pair of AMD Radeon R9 290X graphics cards. While Bitcoin mining would likely utilize all four video cards well enough, games will not. Of course, he did not even mention the former application (thankfully).

No, his complaint was about vendor-specific features.

Honestly, he's right. One of the reasons why I am excited about OpenCL (and its WebCL companion) is that it simply does not care about devices. Your host code manages the application but, when the jobs get dirty, it enlists help from an available accelerator by telling it to perform a kernel (think of it like function) and share the resulting chunk of memory.

This can be an AMD GPU. This can be an NVIDIA GPU. This can be an x86 CPU. This can be an FPGA. If the host has multiple, independent tasks, it can be several of the above (and in any combination). OpenCL really does not care.

The only limitation is whether tasks can effectively utilized all accelerators present in a machine. This might be the future we are heading for. This is the future I envisioned when I started designing my GPU-accelerated software rendering engine. In that case, I also envisioned the host code being abstracted into Javascript - because when you jump into platform agnosticism, jump in!

Obviously, to be fair, AMD is very receptive to open platforms. NVIDIA is less-so, and they are honest about that, but they conform to standards when it benefits their users more than their proprietary ones. I know that point can be taken multiple ways, and several will be hotly debated, but I really cannot find the words to properly narrow it.

Despite the fragmentation in features, there is one thing to be proud of as a PC gamer. You may have different experiences depending on the components you purchase.

But, at least you will always have an experience.

Lionsgate Sponsors StarCraft II Touranments

Subject: General Tech | February 7, 2014 - 03:22 AM |
Tagged: Starcraft II, esports

Movie studios are beginning to take video game tournaments seriously. MLG secured an ad deal with Relativity to promote their movies across its channels. Lionsgate, a more scrappy company known mostly for Michael Moore films until they took a risk on The Hunger Games, decided to one-up them and sponsor a whole tournament.

Actually, about three tournaments.

sc2-endersgametournament.jpg

The first tournament will be run by Twitch and commentated by Nathanias and by NASL's RotterdaM and MrBitter (NASL is the company responsible for broadcasting WCS America since Season 2, 2013). It will have a $7,000 prize pool to be split among its 16 competitors. The tournament will be called, "Twitch Ender's Game on Blu-ray Tournament". Catchy.

Just a couple of days later, MLG will host the aptly titled, "MLG GameOn Ender's Game on Blu-ray Tournament". Its casters will be Team ROOT's Destiny and Catz, which is quite odd because both are competitors in the first tournament run by Twitch. Its prize pool is not yet announced. Other notable players include Scarlett, MajOr, MaSa, and Hitman.

The third "tournament" is actually a showmatch between the winners of each previous tournament. The two contestants will play a series against one another for a 70/30 split of $10,000 dollars.

It makes sense. The cost of running a StarCraft II tournament, including the prize pool, is probably significantly lower than most other ad campaigns. It just takes a company to think outside the box enough to actually do it. Lionsgate, of all the major film studios, is essentially the underdog as we alluded to earlier. Let's see how effective it is.

The Twitch tournament is currently on now and will run until February 9th. The MLG half will begin on the 11th. The Championship showmatch will be streamed by Twitch on February 22nd.

Source: TeamLiquid

Call of Duty Now Has Three in the Can?

Subject: General Tech | February 7, 2014 - 02:20 AM |
Tagged: call of duty

Call of Duty games have been developed by two main teams: Infinity Ward and Treyarch. Fans of Intel will appreciate the Tick Tock schedule where each led the development of alternating games. A third company, Sledgehammer, helped out a bit with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 after Infinity Ward practically imploded.

Such things happen when executives are terminated and armed security guards occupy your office.

callofdutymw.jpg

Activision's recent announcement now claims that Sledgehammer Games will create their own Call of Duty titles in an arrangement I can only describe as "Tick Tock Tuck" (my term, not theirs). My only hope is that we will see a fourth studio join this arrangement and become, according to the ordered set of vowels, "Tyck". Of course, if I learned anything from elementary school grammar, they will only sometimes release a game.

Yes, I know "w" is also sometimes a vowel.

Activision intends to keep Call of Duty titles on the same pipeline approach as always, just with a third stage. Part of this could be due to increased development costs as a larger computation budget demands extra art assets and effects. On a related note, some sites are pointing to the issues with Battlefield 4 (seriously, with all of the buggy DICE games in the last ten years, why pick on this one?) and claim that Activision could avoid those problems with a little extra polish time. On the other hand, extra time does not necessarily mean anything. Dedicating an extra team means a lot less than dedicating 50% more man-hours of development per game. Are they?

Speaking of which, how many more games does Call of Duty have left in it? With this setup, whenever sales actually begin to slump, they will have a third game in the pipe to eat development costs of. Sure, they could probably release it and have some recovery. This was the year that Call of Duty: Ghosts failed to outsell its predecessor. It does feel odd to seemingly expand, right now.

The next Call of Duty will probably be announced around E3 and released this holiday season.

Like clockwork.

Source: Joystiq